Rt. Hon. Speaker Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi-Hughes said good bye to the House after four years of Chairing the affairs of the House as political maneuvering and jostling were going on at the side of the majority National Democratic Congress (NDC) to get a new Speaker for the Fifth Parliament of the Fourth Republic.
Mr. Sekyi-Hughes became the Third Speaker of the Fourth Parliament in 2004 when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was retained after the 2004 polls and now has to bow out after dedicated service with the party that brought him to the third highest position of the land.
In addressing the Legislature before the dissolution of Parliament mid-night yesterday, Mr. Sekyi-Hughes congratulated the Members of Parliament (MPs) for carving a niche for themselves as one big family for the period that they have been together as Members of the House.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Whatever the cost might have been, we should pride ourselves in the fact that one day when we are far gone; our contribution to the growth of this institution and parliamentary democracy in Ghana will be remembered by succeeding generations,Ã¢â‚¬Â the former Speaker noted.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Across the political divide of the House, each of you has managed to build what I may term, Ã¢â‚¬Ëœbridges of friendshipÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ to the amazement of the most strangers to the House. They wonder how diametrically opposed Members could share jokes, drink tea together and sometimes even share cars.
This is the beauty of the game. We all share one vision but probably have different perspectives as to the mode of attainment of that vision,Ã¢â‚¬Â he added.
Mr. Sekyi-Hughes was hopeful that Ghanaians will take a cue from this and be united as one people with a common goal, adding that Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ghana is greater than all our religious and political persuasions and Ghanaians should rally around the national flag in carrying out our respective duties in quest of our vision to eradicate squalor, poverty and injusticeÃ¢â‚¬Â.
He was grateful to all the MPs and the Parliamentary staff for giving him their support over the last four years of his tenure as a Speaker of GhanaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Parliament.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I wish to thank you all for your generous support and counseling, particularly when I assumed office as Speaker. Whatever I managed to achieve was largely due to your cooperation and advice. My knowledgeable and indefatigable deputies propped me well so were the leadership of the Caucuses,Ã¢â‚¬Â Mr. Sekyi-Hughes acknowledged.
He was also grateful to the technocrats of the House, led by the Clerk of Parliament for being at his beck and call, and the Parliamentary Press Corp for rendering Ã¢â‚¬Å“good service to the LegislatureÃ¢â‚¬Â urging the press to continue to be professional in their work in the new Parliament.
Mr. Sekyi-Hughes noted that Parliament of the Fourth Republic, just like the preceded Parliament, has been able to carry out its constitutional mandate albeit some few lapses.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“As a human institution it cannot claim perfection. It is my expectation that our omissions and commissions would not be replicated by the next Parliament. They should be good hindsight for the succeeding Parliament to draw lessons in its quest for good management of the Legislature,Ã¢â‚¬Â Mr. Sekyi-Hughes advised.
He acknowledged that as Speaker of the Fourth Parliament of the Fourth Republic, the cooperation of leadership and members has been tremendous in the successful management of the affairs of the House and the Parliamentary Service.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“My expectations for the House and the Parliamentary Service were well placed as captured in our Strategic Plan,Ã¢â‚¬Â Mr. Sekyi-Hughes said.
A number of interventions, according to him were made for full implementation of the Plan, amongst which was the establishment of a Regional Parliamentary Resource Centre for the Western Region, Sekondi, and the holding of a nationwide Regional Parliamentary outreach, hoping that other regional centres will be inaugurated by the next administration.
According to the former Speaker, these interventions are effective means of facilitating direct contact with constituents and carrying them along in traversing the long and tortuous journey of entrenching parliamentary democracy in Ghana.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Indeed the lack of financial resources made it difficult for quite a number of programmes and projects to be carried out or completed during my tenure of office. It is my hope that my Successor will build upon the foundation made,Ã¢â‚¬Â Mr. Sekyi-Hughes suggested.